Sunday, December 18, 2011

Mizuno's Wave Universe 4

I am excited(thanks to PR's shoe buyer Dave Miller) to have gotten a brand new pair of racing flats for 2012.  Mizuno's Wave Universe 4 weighs at just 3.7 ounces and is nearly 1/2 the weight of my previous racing flats, the Musha 3s, and it could possibly be a shoe I will race in up to the half marathon, certainly the 10K.  As for the marathon I will probably still stick with the Musha for that.  Many will say the Wave Universe's design is for the 10K on down, though some of the world's best runners will use a shoe like this in longer races because they are so efficient and light on their feet.  Brian Cunningham(former coach of William and Mary) suggested I will have to test it out in a workout on the road and see.  It fits my foot pretty darn well(similar to the musha) and for how light it is, it still has just enough amount of cushion. 

When I was a bit younger, my half marathon PR was 1:16-1:17, I raced in a Nike Pegasus(neutral cushioned shoe).  As I became faster and progressed to a 1:12-1:13 half marathoner I used the Asics DS Trainer.  In the middle of 2010, I shifted to the Mizuno Musha, and raced in that for the rest of 2010 and 2011, dropping down to my current PR of 1:08 for 13.1.  Over the years, I have gone to lighter and lighter racing shoes as I have gotten more and more efficient.  Keep in mind though I am talking about my racing shoes.  I love to just do an easy run in my high-cushioned Enigmas, and I believe that doing so helps keep me injury free.  When it comes to racing, I think at a point, you can only go so light...without sacrificing cushioning.  I am not one of those runners with the goal of progressing to vibrams, and I don't know any elite half marathoners who race in those things. 

So I will have to test it out and see.  I do think, that, eventually, in order to progress to 1:06 and faster in the half marathon, I will have to race in a lighter shoe on my feet than the Musha.  It just seems heavy to me now racing 5:00 pace miles in.

Now on to training:

Since the Marine Corps Marathon, the past 7 weeks have been lower mileage, averaging 50 miles/week.  I am feeling more rejuvenated now though and ready to get to 70 again.  I have been taking 1-2 days off each week as well, though that will begin to diminish as I raise mileage again.  This past week I felt really good on some runs, running at faster paces.  On Wednesday I did a nice "break the ice" track workout of 8x400 meters with 1 lap jog between each.  I hit 70,70, 69, 69, 69, 68, 68, 67.  Thursday I took off.  On Friday morning I ran with Coach Brian Flynn who coaches at Bridgewater College.  Brian is training for the Houston Half Marathon in January so his mileage is high right now but I ran 11 miles with him before he added on another 11 or more(he was doing a long run of 22-25 miles).  Training with him consistently would be ideal and I wish he lived in the same area as our abilities and PRs are quite similar.  His brother Ricky qualified for the U.S. Trials in January with a 1:04 half marathon.

Saturday morning I ran with Matt for about 17 miles which was my first real long run in weeks, and I really enjoyed getting into that zone again.  Totaled 56 this week.  Last week was 66.  This week should be more of my real zone around 70-75 again.           

Monday, December 12, 2011

The 2012 Race Plan

1.21.2012 UMD Indoor 5000m

3.18.2012 Shamrock Anthem Half Marathon

4.01.2012 Cherry Blossom 10 Miler

4.29.2012 Pikes Peek 10K

5.14.2012 Swarthmore Outdoor 5000m

6.16.2012 USA Half Marathon Championships


9.16.2012 Philadelphia Rock N Roll Half Marathon

11.18.2012 Philadelphia Marathon

Thanks to everyone's advice and thoughts...even Charlie Ban's Hot Chocolate Race suggestions do not go unnoticed... After brainstorming a lot of different options, I do think the best decision is repeating last spring's schedule for the most part, with the exception of adding on the USA Half Marathon Championships at the end. I believe that this schedule will work the best for me and certainly it did last year(I PRed in every race).

The UMD indoor track 5000m in late-jan will be my 2012 opener, before focusing solely on peaking once the shamrock half marathon roles around in march. I will not run the VT race because it will probably hurt, not help my half marathon at that point. So that's out. The Shamrock Half begins my spring peak, along with the races that follow it. Last year, I was able to endure a 2 month peak, progressing from 13.1 down to 10 Miles, 10K, and finally 5000 meters, hitting PRs every time I raced. One reason I was able to do this was variety in race distance. Each distance has it's own unique traits of requiring different systems to be trained and used. I balanced it all out in a delicate sort of way. 13.1 is oh so close to my lactate threshold-just a tad slower(for me varies from individual because it is a pace you can maintain for about 1 hour)...while 10 Miles is a little faster for me than lactate threshold...using a small portion of some VO2 Max. The 10K is a really unique race's like a divided line between VO2 Max and Threshold, using both pretty equally. And, of course, 5000 meters is a pure VO2 Max race. So as the season went on I tapered off my Lactate Threshold and raced towards using my VO2 Max at the end. This is what I will repeat this year.

I decided also to do the Pikes Peek 10K at the end of April instead of Penn Relays because for one thing it is convenient (the finish is right outside of where I live) and it is too much of a drastic change to go from road racing to 10,000 meters on a track, and it would probably hurt my chances of running Swarthmore 5,000 meters in May. The track 10,000 is so much more stress and pounding on the body than a 5,000. I love the 5,000 on the track and am comfortable racing it in spikes.

After March-May racing, The USA Half Marathon Championships will come up as my final race on June 16th. It will be 3 months after the shamrock half, so the idea is that going back to the half marathon will be somewhat refreshing again. I will do a mini-peak for this race and it won't be necessary to train too much between May and June since I'll have less than 5 weeks to prepare and also I will be fit as hell at that point-if anything I would just need to make sure I stay race sharp by doing just enough running and a few tune-up workouts to keep my body "awake." I think this race is a really great addition to my season and it will give me great experience competing with some great runners and it's a great way to end a season with a championship race.

And furthur out...

After June I will recover and get ready for a big fall racing season. I think I already have this figured out. I loved racing in Philly so much last fall that I will definitely repeat the Philadelphia Rock n Roll Half in Sept again. My fall marathon is looking to be Philadelphia, which is perfectly 2 months after the philadelphia half. It gives me enough time so that I can mini-peak in Sept and to train and prepare for one final peak in Nov. It is difficult, as I have learned, to peak in the half and the full during the same season. Just read Dickson Mercer's blog. Or, just follow Ryan Hall. Having more time between races is a good thing as long as you're able to handle a long season of training.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Spring 2012 Racing Thoughts

I have most of my races set in stone for 2012...but there are a few I am still on the fence about and I will need to make some decisions at some point...

After looking at what made 2011 such a success, part of that success was good planning on the right races. In 2011, I jumped back into some track races, and in addition to PRing, it translated well to my longer distance races. They were also competitive, as I had several college guys to race against. This I need to continue to do. I need to continue to get on the track.

The track is an area where I have a lot of room for improvement, and I need to continue to work hard at getting my times down, because it has helped my half marathon time improve immensely. I do think it is also why the full marathon is not my strongest performance yet, because I am working on certain systems that my body needs to develop this point in time in order for me to become a better marathoner as I mature. My goal long term development is towards the marathon but all of these shorter races and building blocks are part of a bigger whole.

If I want to improve to, let's say, 1:06/sub 1:07 in the half marathon this coming march, I need to get my 5000m time down to the 14's. My PR from 2011 was 15:13 last May, and I am confident that I can run high 14's this indoor track season...and perhaps faster later on in the year. I have decided my first race of 2012 will be the UMD Indoor Invite 5000m on January 21, in the PG Sports Complex. It's the same opening race I did last year(last year I finished in 15:26, 10th place). This race will also be a small way for me to contribute to MD's track and field program, as unfortunately there has been a proposal to cut men's track and field and cross country. Danielle, the assistant MD track coach and one of my roomates, generously waved the fee for me last year, but I will be happy to pay it this year to help support the program. MD has had some great runners and it is a shame for all of the athletes and coaches on that team to have to go through this.

In addition to the UMD invite, there is another 5000m indoor track race I am thinking about doing, which is at the former college I ran for, Virginia Tech. The Virginia Tech Elite Meet is held 2 weeks after UMD, on February 4th. The track is banked, and awesome to run on. I am still on the fence about doing it though. The important thing these 2 meets can do is to develop my speed for the big race in march: The Anthem Shamrock Half Marathon on March 18 in Va Beach. I also need to make sure I do not overdo the indoor racing before Shamrock, because my goal is to develop my speed only as much as I need to in order for me to run as well as I can in the longer distances. What might happen is I may shoot for a PR at MD, and then run the VT race more of as a tune-up/workout, and take that weekend in Blacksburg to get in a solid long training long run at the pandapas pond trails. Blacksburg is an awesome area to train, with hills pretty much everywhere, and trails that go for miles...and I miss training out there.

After Shamrock, there is the top-notch best DC race of the year...CHERRY BLOSSOM 10 MILER on April 1. This is the area's best spring race and it is so well organized. I think runners around here can easily forget to recognize what a great job DC does until they race in the hot chocolate 15k(which is done by a company NOT from DC!). They do a terrific job putting on Cherry Blossom(and though mile 4 was on the wrong side of the road last year-I'm sure they will make sure it is correct this year). Cherry Blossom is certainly a clash of the area's best runners and you get world class runners as well to make it insanely competitive and fast(I was 32nd last year). It will be 2 weeks after Shamrock so I will not have more training time between then/barely enough resting time, but hopefully if my training goes well I will be prepared to attack the 10M distance and rest enough between races to do it. I did it last year.

After Cherry Blossom I will be able to get some more training in before the latter part of April. I will also dive back into shorter races again(10k on down to the 5k). There are a few really competitive track races in April. One is the Larry Ellis Invitational 5000m at Princeton University on April 20-21. But there are also 2 big races the following weekend(and again I need to make sure I don't overrace!). One is the Pikes Peek 10K on April 29(a PR course and one of the most competitive 10Ks around)-and I run well on that course...I ran my PR there the last 2 years and last spring ran 31:26. BUT...there is another racing opportunity that weekend for me...and that is to run in the Penn Relays(April 26-28) in the Olympic Development 5,000m or 10,000m on the track. That would be a really great experience for me and just plain...awesome. Between all of these awesome races it will be a very hard decision to make...I can't do them all. I guess I'll have to see where my 5000m time is at after these indoor races and choose what to do in April based on my progression. These spring track races are highly competitive races to enter. And again, I need to be a 14's guy to be somewhat competitive.

May is easy-will be a repeat of last year, I will do the Swarthmore College Outdoor Track Invitational in PA on May 14, where I'll run the 5000m again. Set my PR of 15:13 there last year. A fun meet and last year I rode with a bunch of Georgetown guys in a van we took up there. It was a blast.

Last year the Swarthmore Track race ended my Spring season. This year, I will extend it to June. Duluth, Minnesota is hosting the USA Half Marathon Championships on June 16. I realized that my half marathon time from Philly this past Sept has qualified me to get an entry and also get free lodging. If I progress to sub 1:07 in March, I will also get most of my plane ticket paid for as well. But that aside, I want to run this race because it is a good race for me to run this point in time. The competition should be strong and it will give me a great chance to compete in a strong field of top U.S. runners.

The year looks exciting. I am beginning a new chapter of running in my life and am on a new level, ready to make some strong statements this spring. I think the latter part of 2011, and especially my philadelphia half was a small preview of what 2012 will bring. This year will also mark the first step of beginning 4 hard working dedicated years of training towards my bigger goals, which is qualifying for the 2016 trials...and beyond.

And of course, I appreciate any tips/suggestions/comments on racing ideas!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

11/21-11/27: 59 Miles, Thanksgiving, The Turkey Chase, & New York

It was a busy week of traveling up to New York to see my family. That is of course after I did the Turkey Chase yet again for the 4th year in a row now. I'll go over that first. I got to the starting line feeling very calm, particularly because I knew this was more of a workout than a race. It's not like I was going to run a PR on a hilly course like this one, and I am far past my fall peak, which I found out was truly at the Philly Half back in September. Still, I wanted to run to win, and prize money goes 5 deep in this race. In 2008, I was 9th. In 2009, I was 7th. 2010, I was 5th...

The gun went off and I found Sam and Karl surging to the front who I tucked in behind with another guy in an orange jersey. The 4 of us made the turn onto Cedar Lane and then up the back hills where mile 1 was where I split 4:55ish. I then went ahead of Karl and never saw him again- I think he ended up dropping out. Kinda sucked because now Sam surged into the lead with the orange jersey runner running with him and a gap grew between them and me. I was basically on my own the rest of the race. Around Mile 3 the orange jersey runner lost ground on Sam and I thought he was coming back to me everytime we went uphill...but then on the flats and downhills he seemed furthur away again....I hate that. I just kept him in sight and focused on my form to run strong. Sam must be bored too, I thought. LOL. He was just chasing the lead vehicle. Mile 4, Mile 5. Nothing special. The end of the race neared and I focused on my effort for one last drive toward home where people cheered. I ran strong through the finish and felt relieved to be done with one final effort. Overall it was a fun event and I grabbed 3rd place and $150. I then quickly jogged in my flats to my car and drove off to pack and shower and leave for New York.

I stayed at my Aunt's house Thursday night in Port Washington, then drove Friday morning just Northwest to Sleepy Hollow, NY, where the headless horseman started chasing me across a bridge not really. I drove up there to run in a beautiful place called the Rockefeller Park Preserve. I actually only discovered it last year when I was there for my cousin Jeff's passing. There are miles and miles of dirt trails and it is hilly. Great surface and solitude. I got out of my car and immediately started on a 13 mile easy solo run. Totally relaxed, and didn't care what pace I was running. I guessed 730s. Afterward, I drove to my other Aunt's in Westchester to have some food and shower before driving back home. I took Saturday off and did my first real "long run" on Sunday. I ran on the towpath before going into Georgetown and DC for a while. I kept it easy most of the way not really worrying about pace but I did find myself "waking up" for some of the way back, clicking off a few 6:30s which is a more normal long run pace for me. My mileage is still low and I know I am still not fully recovered after my fall season, so I am making sure to not overdo it. I'll be honest though, I feel really healthy and good, and most days I am out running not worrying about pace, just keeping it easy. I Got in 16 miles for my long run and 59 miles this week.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

11/14-11/20: 43 Miles/Week

2 days off running this week felt great. On Monday, ran an hour with Scott and Jordan on Cabin John Trails. Tuesday, ran with my dog for about an easy hour...the little guy is getting fast. Wednesday, ran on the trolley trail solo for another hour. Thursday and Friday I took off, and Saturday I ran with Matt at Old Angler's to get in a "long run" of 91 minutes easy.

Sunday, I did a nice track workout of 8x800 meters, at the QO track, with 3 minute rest between each interval. I split 2:23, 2:22, 2:22, 2:24, 2:24, 2:24, 2:24, 2:23. How's that for consistency? It felt good to work out but I am also enjoying the lower mileage after all that marathon stuff. Turkey Chase 10K this Thursday...should be fun.

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Ability to Recover

Running can be unpredictable sometimes, especially with an increase of fitness and strength. This has been an unbelievable recovery for me after the marathon which was just over 2 weeks ago now. I planned out my 2011 year really well, and I seemed to have every race lined up for the year, with Marine Corps being the last race.

Well, turns out Marine Corps isn't my last race of the year. Neither was Veterans Day. I have been so spontaneous with my running lately, jumping into extra races before the year ends and thinking each one is the last before I decide to do the next...

My next race will be the Bethesda Turkey Chase 10K on Thanksgiving morning.

I think the fact that my post marathon recovery has gone so remarkably has given me that extra adrenaline rush to add on a few more races to my year. I feel good, and I enjoy racing, so why not? Races can also be good workouts sometimes.

Veterans Day was a good effort for having run a marathon 2 weeks ago. The time was slow(32:15), but the effort is what counts. And I enjoyed competing. I was running with GRC's Ryan Hanson for much of the race(a 14:40's 5K guy)...before he pulled away to finish about 20 seconds ahead of me. At the 5K mark(15:55) I got a nasty cramp, and really felt like stopping...cursing why the hell was I racing so soon after a marathon. But the course was an out and back, so I had to get back anyway. I then concentrated on effort and threw the focus on "time" away, because I knew I was only at 50% and if anything this was just a solid workout. Towards the end, a much taller runner passed me with about 1/2 mile to go. I couldn't help but get annoyed. I drafted off of him before surging past him with about .1 to go and grabbed the 8th place spot. Won $80 cash-not a bad payday for a workout. Even though the time I ran is slow to me now, I still ran 43 seconds faster than last year's race. I think I will feel a lot better in the Turkey Chase 10K, since it will be furthur away from the marathon, and have better turnover to run a stronger 2nd half.

Recovery after a big race can vary among runner to runner, and also the way their body feels. For some, it means it is necessary to taking 2 weeks completely off. For others, it means taking 1 week off, or just running less, or taking more days off than the runner is used to. At the end of the day, the magic formula is what works best for each runner's bodies. For me, I can recover pretty damn quickly-which means I am able to run again quickly-even within a week of a marathon. I'm even able to jump in some races during this phase-as I'm learning now-I may not PR-but they can be solid workouts. What's different though is the amount of running I am doing relative to what I did before...

So how do you know how much time to take off? Well, a good rule of thumb after the end of a season or long year is to at a very minimum LESSEN the amount of running by taking more days off than you're used to and running less each day. For example, as I have trained over the summer and fall, I averaged 90-100 mpw(with a high of 130 mpw) and I took 1 day off every several weeks...which is a long time to not take a day off...So, the week after my marathon I ran 30 miles with 3 days off and this past week was 55 miles with 1 day off. So now I am running about 30-50% of what my mileage was, with as little as 25% the first week. And I will continue to keep the volume lower for a while. Adjust it according to how much you run. It is important to do this for a period of time before getting the motivation again to ramp up the miles again.

Intensity is the second aspect that goes along with mileage. There is a simple formula that I think many runners should look at: Too much Intensity + Mileage= Injury. I learned this a long time ago when I used to train incorrectly and made every mistake in the book. Now, some runners can handle more intensity than others...some can handle more mileage than others. The optimal formula is to balance mileage + intensity with appropriate recovery to get optimal results.

So, for example, lets say runner A, who is currently running at a high intensity, wants to increase their average training volume(miles per week) with their intensity. If they raise the mileage while continuing to run at a high intensity at the same time, they will most likely get injured. If runner A wants to raise the mileage to a new level, they must decrease intensity first while raising the mileage. Only then will the runner adapt to a higher volume, and able to eventually add the right amount of intensity to the right amount of volume after this has happened. So, if runner A wants to eventually increase their overall volume from 50 to 60 miles per week, they may run as much as 70 miles per week without any or very little intensity during their base phase of training. Then, when they decrease their mileage down to 60 mpw, they can increase the intensity gradually while maintaining 60mpw. This is where the runner adapts and becomes stronger and is able to handle more work. Now, let's look at runner B, who is already running the volume of 70mpw, but wants to increase/add intensity. They must first decrease the volume of running to lets say, 50mpw, add the intensity and can then gradually work the volume up to 60 mpw with the intensity. This takes time though, and patience. It does not happen overnight. I like to look at my training progression over a yearly basis.

Races are important because they give a runner something to work towards as a goal and help with periodization(when to run higher or lower miles and when to run higher or lower intensity). As I mature as a runner, I have learned that the benefits of marathon training help support a solid aerobic foundation for the "shorter distance"(5k-13.1) races, just as the shorter distance racing benefits running faster in the marathon. They go hand in hand and build off eachother.

So the Turkey Chase will be yet another race I will jump in. Maybe it will be my last this time. I don't see any other races I would like to do afterwards, and as I put together my 2012 schedule, I think at some point, I need to make sure I do not overrace before the real quality races start. I have high goals for next spring...


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

11/9: 4x400m, 4x200m, 1x1600m

Today I did a track workout in prep for this Sunday's Veterans Day 10K(surprise!....or not so surprise.. if you read the comments of my last post).

Man, it felt good to workout today. The goal of the workout was to get some leg turnover going while also simulating 10K race pace. I started with 4x400m and did the first one at 10K pace(74), and then did the next 3 at a faster rep in 67, 67, 68, all with 1-2 min rest/jog between. I then went immediately into 4x200m in 31, 31, 32, 32, with similar 1-2 min jog/rest between. Finally, I did a 1600m at 10K race pace to simulate the later stages of a 10K. I split 4:55, right around my target goal pace.

I felt good out there, and feel ready to get one last race in for the year. This will definitely be my final race for the 2011 year. It will be my 11th for the year as well.

I recovered really well from this past marathon and what really gave me the go ahead to do this race was the completion of this workout today. My legs feel fine, and I feel ready to give one final effort. Veterans Day is a fast course, good for a PR, and the competition is usually pretty solid. Given my fitness right now and the right race, I feel under 31:00 minutes(4:59 pace) is certainly doable.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

FLASH: A Surprise November Race

Recovery is going really well and my energy levels are feeling quite good. I have a little bit of something left to give before the end of 2011. Not quite sure what it is, but I do feel I have one last race in me. I have decided what it will be and will announce soon.

Stay Tuned...

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

2011 DC, MD, VA Summer Rankings

Every season James Moreland puts together a list of ranked runners within DC, MD, and VA who meet qualifying times. The 2011 summer rankings were from May 21, 2011 – September 5, 2011. I made the 20th spot which was the first time for me to be in the top 20. Other =PR= racers who got ranked were Aaron Church(#28) and Hugh Toland(#40). My roomate Joe who runs for Georgetown Running Co. got the 9th spot. Congrats to everyone who got ranked!

1 Endale, Abiyot ** 26 Silver Spring, MD
2 Feysa, Birhanualem *** 29 Silver Spring, MD
3 Dumm, Andrew *** 26 Arlington, VA
4 Bokan, Tariku 30 Herndon, VA
5 Mouchine, Outaleb *6 33 Baltimore, MD
6 Flynn, Ricky ** 24 Lynchburg, VA
7 Berdan, Dave ** 30 Owings Mills, MD
8 Alemu, Birhanu ** 29 Silver Spring, MD
9 Wiegner, Joey *29 Rockville, MD
10 Tarpey, Michael 25 Blacksburg, VA
11 Deak, Ryan * 25 Burke, VA
12 Komen, Wilson * 33 Washington, DC
13 Callan, Daniel ** 22 Round Hill, VA
14 Clement, Anthony *** 24 Williamsport, MD
15 DeVar, Frank * 23 Alexandria, VA
16 Rodriguez, Bert 31 Arlington, VA
17 Wardian, Michael 37 Arlington, VA
18 Megerssa, Gurmessa * 32 Washington, DC
19 Guevara, Paul 24 Alexandria, VA
20 Sloane, Christopher 28 Rockville, MD
21 Tefera, Demesse 29 Washington, DC
22 Carroll, Ryan ***** 28 Portsmouth, VA
23 Geletu, Seife * 29 Washington, DC
24 Dusen, Karl 28 North Bethesda, MD
25 Burnham, David 27 Arlington, VA
26 Angell, David *** 34 Blue Ridge, VA
27 Renjifo, Carlos 28 Columbia, MD
28 Church, Aaron ** 35 South Riding, VA
29 Secor, Jacob ** 20 Virginia Beach, VA
30 Hanlin, Cameron ** 23 Hagerstown, MD
31 Pruitt, Chris 29 Arlington, VA
32 Doan, Caleb * 21 Virginia Beach, VA
33 O'Reilly, Blaine 22 Hayes, VA
34 Airbensalem, Rachid * 38 Baltimore, MD
35 Shirk, Kevin * 31 Winchester, VA
36 Means, Andrew * 22 Williamsburg, VA
37 DeWitt, Daniel **** 23 Frostburg, MD
38 Aramayo, Ed 24 Baltimore, MD
39 Burke, Edmund 41 Burtonsville, VA
40 Toland, Hugh 30 Fairfax, VA
41 Turner, Justin * 32 Virginia Beach, VA
42 Saunders, Rich 23 Alexandria, VA
43 Ethicha, Kumsa * 27 Washington, DC
44 Myers, Jason 25 Alexandria, VA
45 Logan, Matt 25 Washington, DC
46 Swain, Daniel * 20 Baltimore, MD
47 Brown, Karsten ** 37 Front Royal, VA
48 Chang, Jordan * 24 Blacksburg, VA
49 Zeleke, Birhanu 27 Washington, DC
50 Miranda, Daniel * 25 Baltimore, MD
51 Eissens, Mark 30 Williamsport, MD
52 Buschman, Mark * 27 Ellicott City, MD
53 Rumery, Shawn 25 Silver Spring, MD
54 Whitlock, Jordan 23 Lynchburg, VA

Monday, October 31, 2011

"Getting Closer"...My Marine Corps Marathon 2011

One of the best races around to honor the loss of a loved one is the Marine Corps Marathon. The race has so much meaning whether that person was lost during a war, 9/11, or for any other reason. For me, personally, I wanted to run this race for my cousin Jeff, who passed away almost exactly 1 year ago.

There is no race that has been more difficult for me than the marathon. Like I said in the earlier blog post, it is the race where I have run the most bad races, and it is my weakest time in comparison to my others. Still, though, I believe that I can get it right eventually, and learn how to race the entire thing at some point. Running a marathon is one thing-and believe me, I am not trying to make if sound any less for those who run to finish(most people don't have the will to run a marathon and it is a tremendous distance to tackle)...but racing it is what I have been trying to get my body to do...and it has required a lot of physical adaptation, patience, and faith. My definition of racing is running at a pace where my body is running evenly or my pace fluctuates very little during the entire duration. The world's best marathoners know how to do this. I can do it for 1 mile, 5000 meters, 10K, 10 Miles, and 13.1 Miles...But I have not been able to do it for the marathon yet. I know I can, it's just a question of when.

Here is how the 2011 Marine Corps Marathon went for me:

I lined up in the front next to Mike Wardian. 30,000 people lined up behind me in their respective corrals. The canons went off and BOOM! runners started each of their 26.2 mile journeys. I tucked right in behind Wardian(who eventually placed
2nd in the race). I felt smooth and relaxed and held my pace well. I did not feel like I was going too fast, but I felt like I was racing, which was the goal. If I were able to race the entire thing, I believed that I had it in me to run anywhere from 2:23-2:25 today, and I was going to give it the best shot I had. The hills in the beginning were quite challenging, though nothing I couldn't handle...I tend to be built for hills. Wardian pulled up ahead with a pack of 5 or 6 guys and I was in the top 10 keying off of them. A few dropped back who I passed and found myself suddenly in 6th or 7th position. Then I found myself being followed on my heels by an African guy. We made the climb up to the Key Bridge where thousands of people cheered. I saw some of the GRC team cheering as we approached Georgetown and Jake was the loudest. One of the bridges was icy which caught me by surprise. It was pretty cold out but it didn't really bother me much. I wore arm warmers and gloves and was just fine. As we ran down lonely Canal Road, I saw a woman cheering loudly who I didn't recognize until I got closer and realized it was Jeanette(PR's apparel guru) which was cool. I made the U-turn onto Reservoir where Rich Saunders was cheering and took a photo of me. As we climbed up the hill, the African guy lost some ground on me and I found myself alone on MacArthur Blvd. As I got back to Canal Road, many runners who I coach going opposite directions cheered loudly for me "Go Coach!" and "Go Chris!"....which was really awesome...I couldn't see them in the crowds since there were certainly so many people but I definitely heard was awesome. I did see Julia cheering and also Tracy while she was running.(Tracy ended up qualifying for Boston in 3:49).

I approached M Street and made the turn down under WhiteHurst Freeway. Then, a runner caught me, who I recognized. It was the guy in the USMC uniform who I barely beat in the Philly Half last month. Same build. I stuck right behind him. 55 minutes in, I hit 10 miles(5:30 pace), took a gel, and was on PERFECT pacing. This was 2:24 pace, right where I needed to be. We approached the Lincoln Memorial where thousands and thousands of crowds cheered. I was still in 7th place. I put my hand near my ear to give a "what I can't hear you" symbol...and I heard LOUD CHEERS. No wonder Ryan Hall does this. What a GREAT feeling. Then I saw my Dad and Marian cheering loudly who took a photo of me as I passed by and quickly glanced at him. It was awesome for them to come out. My Mom and Beth and Carole were there as well, who I didn't see there were so many people but knew they saw me.

Approaching halfway in, we ran to Haines Point where I was still keying off the USMC guy. I split 1:12(5:30 pace) at the half and was super excited. I felt like I could do this...just gotta keep the turnover, keep the turnover. I was racing...

The second half began eating me like a peeled orange...layer by layer...until I wouldn't have any layers left. I lost some ground on the USMC guy and tried to maintain my rhythm. I saw Becca cheering near Mile 15 or so and that was great. I also saw Dave and Eric running along the course which was also very helpful. As I got back towards DC, a pack of guys including Adam Condit caught me and Jake Klim found me and ran with me for a while. Just stick with the pack, and I did. I took another gel at mile 16. I still hung on with Adam and we approached Mile 20 in 1 hour 52 minutes(5:36 per mile pace)....but I was 1st 10 miles was 55:00, my 2nd was 57:00. By Mile 21 Adam pulled ahead, the pack broke up, and we were climbing up the arduous 14th street bridge. It was tough, and it ate me up pretty good. At this point I wasn't racing anymore, I was just trying to was all I could do and had in me. My legs were shot, and were no longer in racing mode. Still, I wanted to finish strong, so I kept my head up and Jake helped tremendously by coaching and encouraging me to hold things together and keep running. As I got in to Crystal City, Miles 22 and 23 were by far the hardest for me. A few more runners ran me down. I had to stop for a moment and get myself together. I was, quite simply, thunderstruck. I suddenly felt all the races I had done this year, every PR...every effort was hitting me. But I kept on truckin, and the marines gave me cheers for my persistence. At Mile 24, I saw Jake again and together we ran a memorable 2 miles, he stuck with me the whole way-the veteran runner coached me as I ran. It became just a memorable training run where he was pushing me like any other run.

Jake left me at the last hill up to Iwo Jima Memorial, and said, "You can actually still PR. Just get up that last hill and finish your great year." During a tough race that became a run to just finish, to STILL run a PR would be great, I thought to myself. Then, right before the hill to the finish, another runner was about to pass me when suddenly a surge of energy shot right through me and I roared "NO!" and charged right past him up the hill with the power that makes me a competitor, looking like the Chris Sloane that finished the Philadelphia Half Marathon last month. No one was going to stop me getting up that hill-I ate it up for lunch, and Jeff would have been proud. I pumped my fist as people cheered and PROUDLY finished in 19th place overall out of 30,000 runners in a new PR of 2:37:21. To end the year with a PR in a race that certainly was not my potential really shows what truly different level I have gotten to in 2011. I greeted my Dad, Mom, Marian, Carole, and Beth as they all hugged me at the finish. What a great event this is and I'm glad they were able to come.

2011 was the best year of running and racing I have ever had. I have PRed in nearly every event: 1 mile, 5000 meters(twice), 8K, 10K, 10 Miles(twice), 13.1 Miles(twice), and finally, even the 26.2 distance. There have been flashes of brilliance in some of my races this year, and by far the Philly Half was without a question the race of the year. 68 minutes for 13.1 miles(5:14 per mile) has put me on a new level in my running, and sets up for some amazing goals for next spring. And as Beth said, I am the strongest at the half marathon right now. But Marine Corps was also a race that reflected my year, showing perserverance and determination go a long way, and are the ingredients to what have gotten me to having such a great year. So yea, of course I wanted to run 2:24, it would have gotten me 3rd place and I was on pace halfway through. But I am not unhappy about the race either, I am content and satisfied it was all I could do given the phenomenal year I've had. It's all I can ask for. And I'm confident that I am heading in the right direction and my training is paying off. I am not injured, am training the best I can, and will be close to acummulating 4,000 miles for the year. I now begin to look ahead to 2012, and it is looking exciting with the races I am planning on. I will not do a marathon in the spring, however, but pretty soon, I will have that outstanding marathon race that I KNOW I am capable of. It is just a matter of time, really. The lesson here is never give up and be consistent, because the hard work will pay off eventually if you want it bad enough.


Thursday, October 27, 2011

1 Year & What I'm Running For

Forecast for this Sunday:

High of 51, Low of 42 Degress. Sunny. Wind: 4 mph. Humidity: low.

Conditions for Marathon racing: CLOSE TO long as the roads aren't wet!

Good thing the Marathon isn't Saturday-good grief it might even snow that day(which dear god hopefully it doesn't stick) will feel more like late November the way the weather looks right now. I'm thinking arm warmers and gloves...I can always throw them off during the race. But I have a feeling I will need at least a pair of gloves out there.

I am super pumped and ready to go. On Wednesday I did a dress rehearsal 3 miles on the track at goal pace. All I can say is if what I did on the track is my goal pace I'm in for one serious race. I will go out conservative though in the early miles. My goal is to run as evenly as possible and just run down anyone in front of me those last 10 miles. I believe I have a solid chance of getting on the podium(top 3) in this race. Of course it depends on who shows up. I did beat a guy in Philly last month who was 3rd in MCM last year. I am in the shape of my life and have had the best running year of my life...PRing in everything between 1 mile and 13.1 miles...

The first part of this race is just a run-seriously. I must relax and stay calm and NOT GO OUT TOO FAST. This is critical for me since statistically the marathon is where I have failed the most of all my races. I have run badly at my last 3 marathons: MCM in 2009, Shamrock 2010, and Chicago 2010. I have learned to master any other distance...but the 26.2 is certainly my challenge-it is my match. And I will give it a damn good fight this time around.

But in addition to running for personal goals and personal glory, I will run it for someone as well. That someone is my cousin Jeff Klein, who took his own life almost exactly a year from this coming Sunday's Marine Corps Marathon. He was 23 1/2.

Jeff and I shared many precious memories together, and his competitive spirit combined with a wonderful sense of humor made us 2 of a kind. We always pushed eachother past our own limits-I remember when we went on and on trying to break ping pong records. We would find a way to break records by playing videogames. And of course, we made eachother laugh until we couldn't stop crying. Jeff was also a really great basketball player, and unlike him, I was never any good at I just loved watching him play while I attempted to play 1/1000 of what he could play. His brothers take after him as well. When I was young though I was never really into American sports...I was like a European only focused on soccer...and then got into running. Jeff's whole family has a passion for all American sports, and though I got into college football once I went to VaTech, I have found I have grown to watching other sports Jeff loved more and more often because it reminds me of Jeff. I feel joy when I watch anything(particularly comedies LOL) that reminds me of him though, or when we get together with family and I think of the favorite foods Jeff and I loved to eat together(and jokes!).

I have found ways in which Jeff lives on in many areas of my life, and that includes my running. His competitiveness and joy for life lives on in me and I enjoy my running more, and enjoy racing more! I thank you, Jeff-for this new joy I have found. Sometimes I sense he would be very happy for me now...because I am happy. And that's what he would've wanted. Jeff wanted everyone to be happy. And he knows that there's no place better for me a year from his passing than running 26.2 miles out on the streets of DC this Sunday. Sunday will be a day where I will celebrate Jeff's life and what a positive effect he's had on mine.

If in position, I will run to win and run with all my heart those last 6.2 miles. I will leave nothing left out there. Not one single step. And Jeff will be there with me every step of the way. Jeff always loved cheering on the underdog in sports, and I leave this video as a symbol of his inspiration for EVERYONE running Sunday: Good luck to all the runners I've coached this Sunday-I'll be thinking of you all as I tackle the course with you!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Oct 17-23: 69 Miles/Week

Tapering is going well. Finished the week up in 69 miles. The longest I ran all week was 13 miles. I did a nice progression on the track on Wednesday, basically just sharpening up. I did a 4 mile progression on the track in the following splits per lap: 90, 88, 81, 81, 78, 79, 80, 79, 78, 78, 77, 78, 78, 76, 78, 76.(mile splits 5:40, 5:18, 5:13, 5:10). Was just enough to get my legs going. On Saturday I did a single Edwards Ferry/Whites Ferry Loop of 10 miles working down to MP for the 2nd half of the run. Finished in 60 minutes and it was no sweat. Rest of my runs have been easy and will be the rest of this week. I may do a 2 mile MP run on Wednesday as a dress rehearsal for the marathon if I feel like I need it. I have been getting physically hungrier and eating more and more as I am craving to store more and more energy my body demands. I listen to what it wants. Been stretching more as well which is a good thing. The final week is here...should be around 50 miles give or take. I have prepared as best I can at this point.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Fall, Oct 10-16, 95 Miles/Week

Fall is definitely my favorite season. I love the foliage and cooler weather for running. It can make running seem effortless many days. It doesn't last long enough though before winter makes it here.

Ran 95 miles last week as my first taper week. It was 35 miles less than my peak mileage the week before...which makes me think of what a different page I'm on with mileage now. I have averaged 80 miles/week for the entire year so far and am projected to finish the year with around 4,000 miles.

This week I will take the miles down to the 70s, and the last week before the race will be about 55 miles. My legs are feeling fresher as I keep taking the miles down. I did a 16 mile run this past saturday at a faster effort, in my flats, and I felt great.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Final Climb-10/3-10/9: 130 Miles/Week

Some days it just felt almost too easy out there. This is the best I've ever felt running as much mileage as I did-130 miles-and my highest ever. Over the summer, I ran two 120 mile weeks and I was quite sluggish. This week, on one day I could run 9 miles in the morning and then another 16 miles in the afternoon-and feel great clicking off 6 min miles. I would lie if I didn't say I am the strongest and fittest I have ever been in my entire life. I did 5 doubles, with a total of 12 runs. On Saturday, I ventured out to Poolesville with myself to the famous Duel Ferries Run...I found myself completely alone out there and loved every second of it. I loved the solitude. I thought a lot about my goals, my development as a runner, and what I saw truly capable of me doing in the years to come. The total distance of Duel Ferries is 20 miles(2 loops). I wanted to get in 22 so I decided to do a mile first out and back before doing Duel Ferries at a decent effort and then a 1 mile cooldown. I averaged 5:50 pace the entire way, and it was a solid moderate-hard effort. I finished both loops in 1:58:00, which made me think the last time I did both of these loops my fastest time was around 2:07:00. The BIG difference here is that this effort used to feel hard for it's just a run. Doing this on top of the high miles has made me very confident as far as my endurance goes. Once I take the mileage down, my speed will latch onto the endurance and I will be a killer. All I need to do now is some fine tuning. The 20+ milers are over. The hay is in the barn. My mileage will now drop each week during the taper. The rest is really set in place. I just need to do a few shorter tune-up runs at goal pace and I will be set.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

9/26-10/2: 100 Miles/Week and a 25 Miler

A week of just solid good running. Pure and simple. The goal was to get back into the groove of things since the previous week was a recovery week of 78 miles post philly. I hit 100 miles this week and had some really nice runs but didn't do any workouts. This week was a final endurance builder before I do some tune-up workouts next week. I did a long run of 25 miles at a relaxed 6:40 pace average and it felt good....really good. I started from Carderock and ran South towards DC and across the Arlington Memorial Bridge. I saw 2:15 marathoner Chris Raabe running in Georgetown and had a sudden urge to run with him, but thought I probably would bother him-plus he was going a little faster than I would've wanted to run. It was great weather running today and nice it did not rain. At mile 23 I felt like I could've run forever...30, 40 miles if I wanted to. But 25 would be enough, and the longest run I will do before attacking 26.2 on Oct 30. The plan for next week is to hit 120 miles with marathon pace workout(s). After next week I will start tapering the mileage but keep the intensity.

In other news, Lucinda QUALIFIED FOR THE OLYMPIC TRIALS today in a FANTASTIC time of 2:43:43!!! Luci ran the race PERFECTLY, executing a great race plan to go hard the last 10 miles and it payed off-she negative split and earned a spot to Houston 2012. I am really excited for her and am happy to have helped her in her training to getting where she is now. It's exciting to see a former QO runner do this. I hope to join that list someday.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Twin Cities-Good Luck Luci!

Lucinda, who I run with every now and then, will attempt her debut marathon tomorrow morning at Twin Cities(USA Marathon Champs). Luci has trained very well and did some solid training runs with me to help prep her for the race. She will be shooting for the 2:46:00 Olympic Marathon Trials Standard, and I believe she is certainly within that range. Lucinda ran in High School with me and knew much about running before I did(when I began running cross country as a freshman, she was a junior). I learned a lot about the sport from her and many of the older runners on the team. Most of QO's fastest runners never continued competing post collegiately, and it's nice that besides myself today, she still competes and trains at a high level. I wish her the best of luck!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Post Philly & The Final Weeks Ahead

A few final words about Philly: I was fascinated with how well the race was run, the crowds, the competition and the city. Beth and I had a great time. Thank you, Philadelphia. I will most likely return to race it again next year.

Post Philly I was tired all last week pretty much. Ran 6 days out of 7 but very easy runs and slow paces-no workouts. I got in 78 miles which was enough to build off of for the next few weeks, and an easy long run of 19 miles. My mileage will be back in the 100's range the next few weeks in prep for Marine Corps, with QUALITY runs as a huge emphasis. My summer high ended up being 120 miles(averaging 100mpw) which I felt was enough in amount(thank you Charlie and Jake Klim for the advice). I didn't need to go higher-but someday I'm sure I will build up to 140 as I reach new levels in my training and racing. I certainly reached a new level at Philly last weekend. It's my strongest PR to date(conversions are faster in every respective distance I race). The 68 minute 13.1 race I ran makes me really excited to see what I can do in the full 26.2. 57th overall doesn't sound great, but I beat a lot of good runners-one who was 3rd in Marine Corps last year. Though, the 26.2 is a different race and it is certainly by far my weakest PR(back from 2005, a 2:38)...even my 1 mile PR is hilariously better(I am certainly not a miler). But this makes no difference to me. It's all about where I am NOW. I have a good idea for a marathon goal, but the next few weeks and workouts will really help to validate where my fitness is.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Philadelphia: Race Report

I woke up Saturday morning with a runny nose. Go figure. I went out for an easy 5 mile run. My logic is that with my less mileage(in the 70's) the past few weeks, my body is not used to not running so much, and my immune system is lower as a result(or at least someone has told me this before-I forget who). Or, I just happened to get a cold. Either way, I just sort of knew I was still ready and able to race optimally. I do not believe the cold had any negative effect on my performance. Beth and I left Saturday morning and were suprised at how easy the drive was to Philly. As we passed the Eagles stadium, I thought of my roomate Joe, an Eagles fanatic. I wished he was here racing as well. As we got closer to the city, we went directly to the expo and while parking was a hassle, it was cool to take a look at the downtown area. I was already excited. As we crossed the street towards the Expo, Beth nudged me in the shoulder to look ahead. We saw Olympian Adam Goucher walking right towards us, pushing his baby Colt in a stroller. I glanced at him and found myself staring until he finally noticed and I looked away. Goucher would be on the starting line the next morning, aiming to qualify for the Olympic Trials Standard(1:05:00). His wife, Kara Goucher(a world class runner), was inside the Expo signing autographs. I didn't stay at the Expo long, for I didn't want to waste energy walking around too much. I got my Elite Bib number(#60), bought some shot bloks, and we were out. Beth and I still had an hour to kill before checking into our hotel so we went to a nearby grocery mart where the food was quite good. The hotel location was quite convenient, and I had booked it for that very reason. It was nothing fancy, a Best Western, but it was literally 2 blocks away from the starting line. Will go there again. I then decided to do a 20 min shake out jog in the afternoon, and my legs felt GREAT. I knew I was ready to race the next day. That evening Beth and I had dinner conveniently in the hotel as we watched the Florida/Tennessee game, we both had pizzas which were actually quite good. Later on I walked over to the Wawa to devour a Chipwich.

I got to the Elite starting line with 15 minutes to spare and did some strides. I saw many people who I knew, and many really, really, really fast runners. Gulp. The field was loaded this year. For one reason because many Americans were trying to hit the Trials Standard of 1:05:00. I thought to myself, I will be aiming for that one day, but not yet. For today my goal was 1:07-1:08. Heck, if I broke 1:10:00 it would be a PR. I saw some Georgetown guys and said my hellos to them. Karl, Paul, Dickson, Bryan. Karl looked ready to go. I saw Jordan Zwick out of the corner of my eye in the stands. Jake Klim came to watch as he stood right near Beth near the starting line(but they never saw eachother somehow). The weather was PERFECT-50 degrees, partly sunny, partly cloudy. I felt a little cool at the start and found myself still wearing my gloves. Jake motioned for me to give them to him and I did-he knew that I would not need them once I got going and I probably would've just tossed them aside during the race somewhere. I also ran into Rich Saunders on my warmup, who owns a PR of sub 1:10:00 in the half and ran most of the Shamrock 13.1 with me last March. I saw Peggy(=PR= masters racer) but didn't get a chance to say hello to her. The National Anthem was sung as Frank Shorter was introduced and it gave me chills. The 1972 Olympic Marathon Gold Medalist gave encouraging words to all the runners as we got ready to race. Do not go out too fast. Do not go out too fast, I kept chanting to myself. The Rocky Theme started to play as we got ready to take off...


We surged down Benjamin Franklin Parkway towards downtown Philly. A bunch of Africans surged to the lead, with many, many elite Americans following them. We approached downtown very quickly and heard roars of people cheering. I relaxed and tried to find the right people to run with. One guy running with me, then surging ahead, another running next to me, dropping back. It was all a little chaotic at first. It always kind of is in a big race I suppose. Then Karl pulled up next to me. I ran with him and we drafted off some runners. Karl is just an awesome runner. I admire him a lot for his perserverance at the sport. He has qualified for the Olympic Trials before, and has run 2:20 in the marathon. He is now trying to hit the new 2:19:00 standard for the marathon in Chicago in 3 weeks. We blazed through the first mile in 5:00. WOAH. Little fast, but yet I felt fine. I was calm and knew it would be alright...if I went through in 4:50 I would've been freaking out however. Amazing how fast this race was. We surged through downtown and I got an immediate familiar feeling of Chicago the year before, the adrenaline of running through a big city. Chicago was a terrible race for me last year, but I do have good memories of surging through the city. There is nothing like racing in a big city with people cheering you on. But I needed to remain calm. My fear was definitely going out too fast in this race and bonking, and I wanted to run evenly for the rest. I hit 5k in 15:55(5:07 pace). Karl at this point was surging ahead, and I held back from going with him since it probably would've done more harm than good. For him, though, he was running his pace. I was excited for him. 4 miles in and we began heading out of the city going North. Beth cheered for me as we passed by the start line. I saw Jake and Pat Murphy cheering as I went through mile 5 in 25:45(5:09 pace). At this point I wasn't running with anyone and began to get worried. I NEED someone to run with. I saw a guy furthur up and tried to reel him in, but it would take a little while to do so. I needed someone NOW...

I began to hear a stampeed of footsteps behind me. Then, I realized there was a pack catching me. Now here, this is where I congratulate myself and believe made my race. Instead of saying in my own head, "damn, these guys are going to blow by me..." I said to myself, "this is your opportunity. Take it or leave it." As the pack caught me, I went with them and told myself to not let them go. I hung on and the bunch of us worked together. At mile 6(31:00), I began to feel really great. Halfway through. I hit 10K in 32:09. All I needed to do was stick with the pack. Work together. Encourage one another. I said encouraging words to everyone and they nodded. We were running 5:10-5:15 miles at this point, and it was just what I need to stay on 1:08:00 pace. The course was beautiful, I enjoyed every part of it. We went under bridges and along a beautiful river. There were still people cheering along the course and the bands were pretty good. I enjoy music on the run. There were several squads of cheerleaders who were really into it and I have to say they did a really great job cheering us all on. It's great to get that support when you're working this hard. Because, let's face it, it hurts. I grunted through miles 7 and 8. This is the part where you really have to work the half marathon. It is critical to stay on pace and not fall asleep. We hit mile 9 in 46:something and I began to realize that my goal was going to be achieved. I also realized that I was going to PR at my 10 mile split. I blazed through in 51:57 for 10 miles, pring by nearly a minute in a split. The training is working, I thought to myself. I am GOING to do this. 5k to go...

The pack began to break up. At this point, our fitness levels were microscopically different. We all ran in a line of men, with small gaps between each of us, and one guy hanging with me. Almost at an hour...almost at an hour...then it's just minutes left...I told myself-the other runner and I encouraged eachother and worked together. The crowds got bigger as we approached mile 11 and 12. I knew I was slowing a tad at mile 12(it's always mile 12 for some reason!) I saw a slow split. Gotta hang in there, keep the turnover, keep the turnover. LAST MILE. I fought HARD. I was making one final burst of energy that I had in me. The other runner went with me and we dueled it out. People cheered and I could see the Art Museum where the Rocky steps were on the left. The other runner surged ahead and I drafted off of him as we approached mile 13...if it would It looked like forever I would get there. Jake was going nuts as I saw him just before mile 13 and he yelled, "40 SECONDS LEFT SLOANE!!" As I passed 13 in just a tick under 1:08, the last .1 was UPHILL. GOD ALMIGHTY. But then I thought, what a great way to get ready for Marine Corps. The hill felt really hard, not because it was a tough hill, but because after running on a mostly FLAT course with very little change in elevation there was now a hill at the last .1. How convenient. As I ran up the hill, it hit me and I gagged and slowed down for a moment before working into next gear and pulling myself as hard as I could up...up...up....

I crossed the line in 1:08:39, put my hands on my knees, and let out a very loud roar. I felt somehow an immediate sensation of strength surge into me, as if I had become immediately stronger after finishing the race.

I averaged 5:14 per mile for the 13.1 distance, so I was running faster in the early miles, and actually was on 1:07 pace for about half the race. I PR'ed by 1:25, and it was nice to get a 10M split PR as well.

STATS: The winner was close to the WORLD RECORD, finishing in an astounding 58:46!!! Bobby Curtis was the top American in the race, running 1:01:52, placing 9th overall, and becoming the second fastest American half-marathoner for the year. Adam Goucer qualified for the Trials with a 1:04:52, in 22nd overall. Dave Berdan was the top local MD/DC/VA finisher, in 1:05:53, finishing 25th overall. Karl was the 2nd local finisher, in 1:06:52, finishing 36th overall. My 1:08:39 got me 3rd local finisher in 57th overall. Amazing how loaded this field was. There was another =PR= runner out there. Peggy ran awesome, winning the masters(40+) womens race in 1:20:21.

My next and last race of 2011 will be the Marine Corps Marathon on 10/30/11.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

1:08:39, 13.1M PR & 51:57 10M en-route PR

OFFICIAL RESULT: 1:08:39, new PR, first time under 1:10:00

STATS: 41st Elite Male out of 52 Elites, PRed en route at 10 Mile Split: 51:57 by 57 seconds!

SPLITS: 5k: 15:55, 10k: 32:09, 10M: 51:57

averaged 5:14 per mile.


Saturday, September 17, 2011

Here we go...

Gun goes off at 8:00 AM. Temps are ideal. Will be in the Elite Corral with a bunch of pros and 1:03 guys where things can dangerously go out fast. I must stay conservative the first few miles and eat up as many as I can the 2nd half. I run well like this. Going out slightly slower/or at goal pace and picking it up and just hammering anyone in my way. I must use my strength to its advantage, TRUST my fitness, and I must be patient and know that I will run down the guys when the pain sets in. I must not be afraid to challenge those who appear superior. I must believe in myself-that I am as good. I believe I can do what I think I can do. I will give a good fight.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Forecast for Sunday


Partly Cloudy

LOW: 54 Degrees

HIGH: 70 Degrees



Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Wednesday, 9/7: 4 X 2MILE!

One of the hardest workouts I have ever done on the track is the 4x2mile I did last March, right before I ran my PR 1:10:04 in the half marathon. My splits in the workout at the time were 10:19, 10:19, 10:24, 10:32.

Today, I did the same workout, in 10:01, 10:01, 10:04, 10:14!!

I shaved basically 20 seconds off each interval with perhaps even less rest between each and averaged 5:02 pace overall(last time the average was about 5:12) I shaved off 10 seconds per mile during this workout. If my half marathon pace is 10 seconds per mile faster this time around, that puts me at 5:10 race pace....which is 1:07:43 for the half marathon.

If I can do this next weekend, it will be a major breakthrough.

Monday, September 5, 2011

8/29-9/4: 75 Miles/Week

Down week in mileage but still with quality workouts. In fact, I got in 3 workouts this week(including the 5K race-which I also consider to be a workout). Tuesday was a nice track session of 1600, 1200, 800, 400. Saturday was the 5K race. But then, to my surprise actually, Sunday ended up being a terrific workout. The workout was a 3 mile easy run followed by a 10 mile progression to marathon pace followed by an additional 3 mile easy run. Total was 16 miles, and during the middle miles I was cranking, and feeling even better as the pace got faster. There is something in me that works well with's like a switch I have...and once I flip it on, I just go. After 3 miles I worked down the pace starting from 6:10 pace and eventually set the cruise on the 5:30-5:40 pace range for most of the miles. At times I was running even 5:20 pace which really didn't even feel that hard! The day AFTER a hard 5K and I am running this pace....I thought. There is no way I used to be able to recover so quickly like this.

I am excited for some really really good workouts this week.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

I should be satisfied with this result...but I'm not

15:22. 4th place in the Kentlands 5K this morning. This race really wasn't that important, but I have to admit I am not satisfied with the result...not that I could have run faster...I ran the pace that my legs needed to go...and it seemed they wouldn't shift into the next gear that I would have liked them to...they just kinda cruised the whole way.

I gun went off and Abiyot Endale(superb EliteAfrican runner)...who no question was going to win this race unless he took a wrong turn....surged to the lead with another African runner beside him and me tailing. Joe whisped by me and tucked in behind them. A gap began between Joe and I but I keyed off of him while 2 other guys clung right behind me...breathing down my neck. I hate that. But I felt they would soon drop by mile 2.

Turn after turn after turn...this course had 6 turns before the first mile! Crazy. It was like a street fight. I hit the first mile in 4:48. On goal pace and feeling good. More turns. We veered around the lake. I could still see Joe slightly ahead. I could still feel the other 2 runners hanging off my back. But I began to feel that familiar feeling I always get once I warm myself up. I keep pressing. So, I pressed, and they began to fall off. Mile 2: 9:39, still on pace. But I needed to press the last mile if I even had a shot at sub 15. Then came the hill. It wasn't a bad hill. But it was just kind of in the way. it slowed me down for sure. I could still see Joe ahead who was close to the 2nd African. People cheered as I got to the top of the hill and began the downhill straight to the finish. I ran strongly but there were no change in gears, it was just a consistent, strong effort. I knew then that my time wouldn't be fast. 15:22 just seems so slow to me now.

Ok, now that I have explained what's gone on in my head, here's the reality(and this is the coach in me speaking now)...I ran 9 seconds slower than my TRACK PR. the road is much slower than track. In fact, if the effort would've been converted to the track, it probably would've been a PR for me. plus the course wasn't perfect in itself with that hill at the end. AND I am training for a half marathon in 2 weeks, as well as a marathon 6 weeks after. AND I have been averaging 100 miles/week...although this week is a down week. AND this race was supposed to just get my feet wet a little. The true focus of all this training is on the half marathon/marathon. There will be other opportunities to jump back on the track and hit that 14:40. So really, I should be happy.

But I'm not. And that's ok, I realize, because it's what keeps me alive and hungry for more.


Thursday, September 1, 2011

it's time to RACE! the attack on 15:00 minutes

My roomate Joe, pictured to the left above, placing 2nd during last year's Kentlands 5K.

My PR is 15:13 for the 5K. I plan to attack the 15:00 barrier this Saturday-I need to run 4:49 per mile in order to do this, which feels doable to me. I am fit and it will be a great tune-up race for Philly. Mileage is less this week for the race. On Tuesday I did a nice track workout of 1x1600, 1x1200, 1x800, and 1x400. I like this workout because it is a good race simulator for the 5K. The 400 is like the final kick towards the finish line. I feel pretty race sharp after doing this workout. My splits were 4:46(1600), 3:35(1200), 2:22(800), 65(400).

The Kentlands 5K will be a great race to see where my fitness is at, and feel I have a legitimate shot at sub-15:00. It would also be nice to get top 3 and win some $$$. The variables are the course and it's turns...which can slow one down so it may or may not be doable. We'll see. According to my roomate, Joe(who finished this race last year in 2nd, in 14:44), there is a hill after the 2nd mile but there is also a nice downhill finish.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Aug 22-28: Tri-State 24 Miler, 101 Miles/Week

Crazy week of hurricanes, earthquakes and whatnot, but training remained consistent still. I got in 101 miles for the week and a total of 9 runs. The workout on Wednesday morning was great obviously, the 4 miles in 20:20 showed that I am sharpening into half marathon race pace nicely. The rest of my runs were just general aerobic runs, nothing faster than 6:00 pace. On Saturday I got my long run out of the way since the hurricane was on its way. I started down the CCT and ran down towards DC and continued past the Kennedy Center, crossed the Arlington Memorial Bridge, looped onto the Mount Vernon Trail, crossed back over the Key Bridge, poked my head in the Georgetown store to pick up some water, and continued on my way back to the Arlington Bridge to see how my marathoners were doing. They were going 20 miles today and they looked great as I crossed the Arlington bridge a second time. I ran to the end and looped back to run through Georgetown a bit before coming back up the Capital Crescent. At this point I was 17 miles in and had 7 miles to go. Although my pace wasn't fast, (I was running no faster than 6:10 pace and ended up averaging 6:50s for the entire run), it wasn't easy coming back up the long climb on the CCT. But I felt pretty good overall and it gave me confidence for the 26.2 mile distance I would tackle in 2 months. Total time was 2 hours and 45 minutes and the distance was 24 miles. Longest long run of the year so far. This should hopefully help my marathoning improve...just simply running close to 26.2 miles as opposed to running it at race pace first will help me progress to the marathon pace runs later on. I am really excited for the Kentlands 5K next Saturday-it should be a great tune-up for Philly and hopefully I'll snatch a PR as well.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

8/24: 4Mile Tempo: 20:20

I felt awesome during my tempo run this morning...almost too good. I went to the Richard Montgomery Track and did 20:20 for 4 miles which felt comfortably hard. AND it was a day after I ran 16 miles at a decent pace. I split 5:08, 5:05, 5:05, 5:02. My goal was to feel relatively comfortable doing it since it would be close to my half marathon race pace. Speaking of which, I averaged 5:05 pace...which for a half marathon is 1:06:40 pace! But it's probably a little ambitious to say I can run 1:06 in 3 1/2 weeks....probably more realistic is 1:07-1:08...but still...the pace sure didn't feel that hard. The way I look at it, I ran almost 1/3 of the goal distance at 1:06-1:07 pace, and had energy left in the tank. If I can do, lets say 8 miles, at that pace in a training run...then I would be really confident I could run that sorta time. We'll see how the training progresses over the next few weeks. Training tells a lot. But also mentality is a huge part. My mental toughness of running many workouts alone, coaching myself, I believe it makes me a stronger and wiser runner who knows his purpose, and is already self motivated. I know what I need to do. I just need to go out it. I am not totally ruling out the possibility of running 1:06 for the half...but I also need to make sure I know what goal pace is realistic.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


I have to admit, if I chose one runner who inspires me, it would be Michael Wardian. Originally a lacrosse player in college, Wardian got into competitive running post collegiately(meaning he never competed in college, and started by just trying to qualify for the Boston Marathon. I say "just" not to say qualifying for Boston isn't surely is the holy grail for many good runners. But for Wardian, who qualified for the Olympic Trials Marathon this year(running a superb and lifetime best of 2:17 at the age of 37)...qualifying for Boston is cake for him. However, when he first started out, that was a good goal for him. He kept setting higher and higher goals and now is one of the world's best ultrarunners and an elite marathoner. The guy's ability to recover is insane, and he does it with a full time job, wife and 2 kids-many of the runners I coach do this as well. The way Wardian handles everything inspires me. One day I will have kids and will have to learn how to manage all that in addition to a job, and my training. But not yet ;). Wardian inspires me to qualify for the marathon trials, but also in his ultra-running. I never thought I'd say this, but I think one day I may want to dive into ultra running when I'm a bit older-perhaps past 40. Maybe when I'm passed running as fast as I humanly can in less distances, would I try the Western States 100 Miler.

Check out the interview with Wardian on NPR:

But for now, I am focused on that half marathon in 3.5 weeks, and I have a fast workout to do tomorrow morning.


Sunday, August 21, 2011

8/15-8/21: 100 Miles/Week

Mileage was done in 8 runs this week(double on monday) mostly singles. The track workout on Wednesday was fantastic. I looked through my log of previous workouts and there was a 5x1000m I did before I ran 15:13 for the 5K, averaging 3:00 a piece. The workout this week was 6x1200m and I averaged those in 3:36-3:37 each(meaning I went through the 1000s in another 200m and an additional rep at the same pace. Something tells me I can break 15:00 for the 5K right now.

On Saturday I did a 13 miler mostly in the low 6's with the last 3 miles at about Marathon Pace-about 5:30 per mile. Starting to get into the zone of LT pace and Marathon Pace stuff. I did a 20 miler Sunday with the first half slow and the second half steady.

I have decided to do the Kentlands/Lakelands 5K as a tune-up for Philly. It is 2 weeks + a day before Philly so it works out nicely. It would be nice to claim sub 15:00 there.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

8/17: 6x1200

Today I did a solid trackworkout: 6x1200 meters with more rest than last week but faster interval pace. It was more of a 5k-10k workout vs a half marathon workout...BUT it will help my half marathon time in hindsight. I feel myself getting fitter and fitter each week.

3:36, 3:36, 3:37, 3:39, 3:39, 3:33

averaged out to 3:36-3:37(4:48-4:49 pace)

Since I was averaging about 4:48-4:49 pace, a workout like this makes 5:00 pace seem not as fast. Training is going well this week. Looking foward to a good long run this Saturday.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Less is More: 8/8-8/14: 85 miles/week

Ahhh. I relaxed this week a bit, and recovered my body from the brutal buildups of mileage I have been doing since June. It felt good. I even took a day off on Saturday(AND I went out and had a steak for Beth's Birthday). First day off since...(digging through my running log)...July 7. The day before I raced the MidSummer Night's Mile. Over 5 weeks ago. So hitting 85 miles this week seemed like cake(35 miles less than last week).

I also added speedwork back into my training this week. It was a nice 1st workout back at the track which I will be continuing over the next several weeks building towards the Philly RocknRoll Half Marathon. The workout was 8x800 meters with 1-2 minutes rest between each, at slightly faster than half marathon race it wasn't supposed to be anything really fast. My goal was to average 5:00 pace, maybe slightly faster, which is sub 2:30 800s, and hopefully feel relatively comfortable doing them(meaning aerobic vs. anaerobic)...but it also was VERY important NOT to run them too fast! I hit all of them in 2:28-2:30 and I felt like I could do 8 more when I was done. 4:59 pace average. That was my goal. To get familiar with what used to be a hard pace seems almost a tempo pace that I will be able to maintain for a longer duration. What used to be 5k race pace for me is starting to feel more aerobic and towards a longer distance I could maintain. It is incredible how the body adapts.

This week I will up the mileage again to 100+ and will continue the workouts and some tempo/marathon pace runs as well. Quality workouts are certainly being added now, and I will be definitely focusing on them from here on. The mileage base I've been building since June is big and strong enough that I can now add the next layer to the cake.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Over the Mountain...August 1-7: 120 Miles/Week

I feel like I just got over a huge mountain and am going downhill. Last week was my highest mileage week to date and it was fantastic...really I am handling this mileage very well. I am in the shape of my life. A good amount of self massage and stretching are essential at least one day/week. I am becoming wiser, stronger, and I have learned so much about my body and mind. The key to doing more distance is to make sure you get in your slower runs, so I have made sure to get in a few 7:30 pace runs...I even did 8:00 pace average for a run this week. For those of you who want to run more mileage, I advise you to make sure you don't run too fast all the time when raising it...your body needs the easy days. The Kenyans do this. Mileage has its limits among runners, yes, but you'd be surprised at how much you can raise the bar as long as you do it right. I am confident to say I know how to do it, and if any of you reading this have questions, do not hesitate to ask me. Not that I have mastered it or know everything about it either...there is always more for me to learn and I appreciate all of the advice from everyone who reads my blog.

I am 6 weeks out from the Philly RocknRoll Half Marathon, and 12 weeks out from the Marine Corps Marathon. I have gotten a closer perspective on my miles and workouts over the next several weeks, including how much mileage I should run before it becomes detrimental to my training. But first, here is this week's sum:

8/1: PM: 12.5 miles
8/2: AM: 13.5 miles, PM: 5.5 miles
8/3: AM: 15 miles, PM: 5 miles
8/4: AM: 12.5 miles, PM: 5 miles
8/5: AM: 11 miles
8/6: AM: 21 miles, 1st 10 miles: 70 min(7:00 pace), 2nd 10 miles: 60 min(6:00 pace), + 1 mile
8/7: AM: 19 miles SLOW(8:00 pace), stretching, massage

TOTAL: 120 miles

Saturday I drove out to Edward's Ferry to do a Duel Ferries Run. The Duel Ferries run starts from Edwards Ferry(mile post 31 on the C and O Canal) and goes 5 miles on the canal to Whites Ferry before looping back on a lonely gravel road called River Road for another 5 miles on a rolling hills course that looks a lot like Kansas. It loops back to Edwards Ferry, which is just over 10 miles. Repeat the loop again and you got Duel Ferries. I met with Lucinda who happily joined me for the first of my two 10 mile loops. We started at 7:30 pace and worked down to 6:20 pace. The 2nd loop I ran harder while she did an out and back. I got down to 5:38 pace during the middle of the second loop...which felt rather comfortable...this may be close to my marathon pace...but I brought it back up to 6:00 for the rest of the run. Wasn't quite yet ready to tackle race pace effort...especially during the highest week of mileage ever.

I will begin doing targeted race pace workouts this month, and hitting long intervals on the track or on the towpath. My schedule is a bit more refined now(this still may change a bit) and I think my highest mileage week will be about 130(again this may may just stay at 120).....I probably don't see myself going any higher than 130 though. Outline below:

8/8-8/14: 100-110 miles
8/15-8/21: 110-118 miles
8/22-8/28: 120-130 miles

8/29-9/4: 85 miles
9/5-9/11: 80 miles
9/12-9/18: 65-70 miles**1/2 MARATHON RACE WEEK**
9/19-9/25: 90-100 miles

9/26-10/2: 100-110 miles
10/3-10/9: 120 miles
10/10-10/16: 80-90 miles
10/17-10/23: 70-80 miles
10/24-10/30: 65 miles**MARATHON RACE WEEK**

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Climbing Higher: 7/25-7/31: 112 miles/week

I am climbing higher and higher. I was going to get in 120 miles this week, but I toned it down to 112 by skipping a second run I was going to do on Saturday. The reason being I want to climb in mileage gradually, starting from 103 last week to 112 this week, and then this next week I'll be at 120-125. July is over and I have averaged 90 miles/week for the month. Over the past 10 weeks I have averaged 95 miles/week. I am crushing this mileage and only getting better and stronger. This week I did a couple of faster runs incorporated into the mileage. During my long run for the week(19 miles), I threw in 5 miles at a brisk pace coming back up the Capital Crescent Trail, going UPHILL at 5:45 pace. This was just a small dose of bigger things to come in my training/fitness. My fitness is only improving and I imagine I will gradually be working down my pace over the next several weeks and doing tempo cruise intervals and some faster pacing overall. I do not know what my marathon pace is yet but I will know soon. I am also handling this brutal heat well, and once the cooler weather arrives I'm going to feel fantastic. I have high, high goals this fall.

The BIG training month is coming up: August...I will train farther and more than I ever have. The high week for that month is going to be 140+ miles.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

July 18-24: 103 Miles/Week

Back to the mileage and working hard. The heat is tough some days. I get up early to beat the worst of it, running at 6:30 am most mornings. I ended up doing mostly singles this week with only one double. It feels good to run more again and not race for a while. I made a really smart decision to not run the Crystal City 5K race. Outline of the week below.

Mon: PM: 5 miles easy
Tues: AM: 14 miles
Wed: AM: 12.5 miles, PM: 4.5 miles
Thurs: AM: 14 miles
Fri: AM: 16.5 miles
Sat: AM: 20 miles, (started out 7:30 pace worked down to 6:00 pace), averaged 6:40 pace
Sun: AM: 16 miles easy

TOTAL: 103 miles

Next week would like to hit 120. I am in good shape and handling the heat well. Although, I've apparently lost weight according to many people who have seen me recently. I cannot help but make sure I am eating enough, since I actually used to have a eating disorder when I was younger-and as a result was not performing well in college. Being skinny can only take you so far. But now, with the way I train and coach myself, it is different, my body is changing in a good way this time, for the positive, and my fitness is improving a ton, and I am becoming more efficient. I feel great, I really do. I feel lighter but strong. People look at me and don't understand how I can eat so much. When running this kind of mileage, the calories are being constantly burned...the furnace is hot. The longer days I bring a 10 ounce water bottle that attaches to my hand. I have also been training myself to drink water while I run...something that I have needed to work on doing more, especially for the marathon. I think I am getting better at it though...I think I am getting stronger.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Schedule Change

As I observe the heat wave in the next couple of days, and look at my goals and race plans, I am making a slight change:


It just makes no sense to do it in this kind of heat, but another reason is because I am back in full high mileage training mode(after 3 weeks in the 75-80 mile range). I will be at over 100 miles this week and have been running very early in the mornings to beat the heat. To throw in a 5k makes absolute no sense whatsoever right now and will just throw off my training. I need to remember what I am really training for this fall: the philly half, and the marine corps marathon. The twilight 8K and the Midsummer's mile were two very nice races for me. A PR in the mile and a competitive 8k finish is enough for my summer races.

For the fall, I have added a good tune-up race for the Philly Half Marathon. I am looking to do the competitive Kentlands 5K which is 2 weeks before Philly-perfect amount of prep time. But more on that later.

For now, I train.


Monday, July 18, 2011

Twilight Runfest 8K Race Report

The Rockville Twilight 8K Runfest is the highlight event of summer racing. The competition is solid, and it's one of the top 20 8k road races in the country. The course is certainly not easy, with its rolling hills in the first 2 miles, as well as a few climbs in the late stages of the race. It can go out very fast, and the heat can be rough. Fortunately the temperatures were more moderate this year. My goal was to compete in this race, not run for time. I just wanted to place well and beat as many runners as I could. It felt good to get out on the road again in my Mizuno racing flats. Besides the track, I haven't raced on the road since April. I wanted this race to be a good, hard effort.

I got to the invited runner room around 7:15 and chatted with some of the other elites. Abiyot Endale, Wilson Komen, Ricky Flynn, Dave Berdan...there were some strong runners ready to race tonight. I met up with Luci and her twin sister Claudin(who wasn't racing but came to cheer us on) and we did a warm-up together. I felt great on the warm-up and my legs felt strong and fluid.

The runner in me only becomes stronger with perserverance.

The gun went off and about 15 runners blazed in front of me. I settled into my rhythm and we made the turn to start our first climb up Martins Lane. I already started passing people. Not to brag but, I have to admit, I am such a strong hill runner. Ever since high school, I was always strong on hills. I have a lower center of mass and it certainly comes to my advantage over taller runners. I chewed up a few more runners and settled myself in position, noticing Neal Darmody not too far in front of me.

I went through my first mile in 4:50 and felt fine. The 2nd mile is much slower since hills are added immediately after the first mile and on Beall Avenue. On Beall Avenue I keyed off of Neal, a D1 college runner and who is my former high school's all time best distance runner Quince Orchard has ever had. Any record I held at QO he had demolished. My former coach, Seann Pelkey, did a great job with him. But he also did a great job with me. I pulled up alongside of Neal and together we hammered on Beall Ave. Neal's a great kid. He's got a good head on his shoulders and he's got a lot of talent. He won his conference title this past Spring in the 10,000m. He doesn't want to seem to move up to longer distances after college but he surely has great potential.

Before the 2 mile mark, Georgetown Running Company's top 2 runners in the race, Paul Guevara and Paul Zwama, pulled up right behind me and Neal along with Matthew Abernathy. Together we rolled through the 2 mile in just over 10:00 minutes and the crowds cheered as we made the difficult turn back onto 355. I heard people cheering my name and recognized voices but could not look in time. I just concentrated on keeping my eyes up ahead and attacking the 2nd half of this race.

We made the turn on Martins again, repeating the uphill and then made a right onto Mannakee, where we flew down into the Montgomery College Campus. I now started to pull ahead of Neal, who I could hear was not far behind me. Both Pauls, however, began making a break from me as well. I could see them just ahead and tried to stay in contact. Matt Abernathy was still with me, and together we ran stride for stride going around the parking lots that zigzagged with U-turns. I hate making 180 degree U-Turns. They throw off your momentum by forcing you to slow down in order to make the turn and then you have to regain your speed as soon as you can to keep your momentum flowing. It hurts to slow down.

I hammered.

Abernathy was with me but I could feel him working. We caught an African runner( Seife Geletu) at a hill we were going up towards the 4 mile mark. I could see both Pauls still just ahead and told Matt to work together to get them. At the same time both Pauls were surging as well..

We made the turn onto 355 going South and it was less than a mile to go. I surged a few times but Abernathy stayed right with me. I couldn't shake him. Less than half a mile to go and I could hear people cheering in the distance. Finally with a quarter mile to go I could see the finish line. I strided out as best I could but I didn't have a sprint(which Abernathy did), and he passed me. Then, the African Seife Geletu sprinted by me and I cursed, "Dammit!!"...the guy came back out of nowhere. I surged to give a good fight but was no match. Still, I came through the finish strong and people I knew cheered loudly in excitement as I crossed the line in 11th place in 25:32, my highest placing and best time in this race by far.

Lucinda ran well too, finishing 4th overall for women in 28:48. We did a long cool-down together afterwards.

Beth, Ashwin, Gary, and Cormic came out to watch and we had a fun night partying at my place afterwards. I got in 80 miles this past week. Next and final race of the summer before I prep for fall is the Crystal City 5K next Saturday 7/23 at 8:30 PM.